The Patchwork Quilt

Author:  Valerie Flournoy
Illustrator:  Jerry Pinkney


When Tanya sees Grandma sitting in her favorite spot – the big soft chair in front of the living room window – she wanders over to see what she is doing.  In Grandma’s lap were scraps of material that she recognized.  What could possibly be done with pieces of Papa’s old work shirt or her brother Jim’s faded blue corduroy pants?

“Whatcha gonna do with all that stuff?” Tanya asked.

Stuff? These ain’t stuff.  These little pieces gonna make me a quilt, a patchwork quilt.  My mother made me a quilt  when I wasn’t any older than you.  But sometimes the old ways are forgotten.”

Grandma’s eyes grew dark and distant as she begins to explain to Tanya what making a quilt involves; that it takes time to do it right, but when it’s finished, will be a masterpiece.

“A quilt won’t forget.  It will tell your life story,” she said.

Throughout autumn and winter Tanya brings Grandma scraps and watches as the “story” of the quilt begins to take shape. “Grandma and the quilt are telling each other stories”, she tells her mother.

Just before Christmas, Grandma becomes ill.   The quilt isn’t finished.  But Grandma has touched the family’s heart with the beauty and belief of her story quilt.  Soon there are several hands snipping, cutting, and sewing on the patchwork quilt.  Grandma was right – it became a masterpiece.

1. Explain in your own words, “Sometimes the old ways are forgotten.”

2. How can a quilt tell your life story?

3. What are some other examples of a masterpiece?

Mary Byrne Kline

CLICK HERE  for a lesson overview and an idea for a family art project – another lovely family legacy activity.

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